Thursday, May 31, 2007

Triple feature (sorta)!

Now that Argotnaut and I are back in the southeast part of Portland, we are much closer to several of the second-run theaters that are near and dear to my heart. My love of the Laurelhurst Theater is well known. But we are also within walking distance of the Bagdad Theater. This gives me a chance to go catch a flick at a moment's notice whenever A has a bunch of homework that will keep her confined to her office and I'm a bit at loose ends. Such was the case last night, when I decided to go see "300" and "Grindhouse," two movies -- actually three if you count "Grindhouse" as two, because it's comprised of both "Planet Terror" and "Deathproof" -- that I'd been waiting to show up at the second-run theaters.

So here are my one sentence reviews of each flick:

300 review: I gotta start to do some crunches.

Planet Terror review: Rose McGowan; god -- DAMN! But I bet the machine gun was easier to walk on then those shoes.

Deathproof review: Kurt Russell is awesome.

Okay, seriously (sorta) I kinda liked 300 the best. The story was juvenile and the history fast-and-loose at best. But for a visual experience, it was breathtaking. Hell, the closing credits sequence alone had more visual ingenuity than most movies made today. Movies are hands down THE media for delivery of images, and "300" is the kind of thing only movies can do, and one of the reasons I think big screens will always be with us regardless of how big our plasma TVs get.

"Grindhouse" was good, too, and I recommend it for those who like their humor grimy. Some of the conventions were a bit too precious for me -- the fake negative scratches, the low-fi soundtrack, the bad framing -- given the CGI machine gun attached to Rose McGowan's leg and the obviously high budget necessary to pull off the awesome car chase at the end of "Death Proof." Also a bit precious is the fact that Rodriguez and Tarentino both are such clever filmmakers that they couldn't help but do accomplished work even while trying to pretend not to. But at the same time, I like that the directors obviously wanted to do something fun and different, and the "coming attractions," like "Werewolf Women of the SS" alone were worth the price of admission.

Now I'm afraid I must venture to the multi-plex and see "Spider-man 3," since it's one of the few films I think will be necessary to see with the full "Doubly" treatment. But probably I'll go see "The Lives of Others" first. Damn, I'm elitist.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Wild Kingdom

It was an all animal all the time day today. My cat Cookie has been diagnosed with a thyroid condition and we've started him on some pills. He's improving, but slowly. He been spending his time in the basement in a box of books, but felt good enough to venture out a little bit today. I've been taking him food, water and treats so he doesn't have to deal with the doggies.

Perhaps one reason Cookie was feeling better is because Buddy and Pepe were off getting a pre-summer trim at the dog groomers. Or as they call it, "It's a madhouse! A maaaaadhooooouuuuse!"

Here's some "before an after" shots. The first two are Buddy and the second two are Pepe.

I know they'll thank me in their own way when they're comfortable on our long noontime walks in the 90 degree heat. Buddy particularly, because he's been known to just spontaneously lie down frog-style with his belly in the cool grass when he gets too hot. That yak-like coat of his must be really warm.

And just for fun, I decided to make a little video of Lisa feeding the goldfish in our goldfish pond. When watching, keep in mind Quint's immortal lines from "Jaws": "A shark's got lifeless eyes, like a doll's eyes. When it comes at you, it doesn't even seem to be livin'." I don't think these guys are far removed from ol' Bruce the Great White.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Party like it's 1989!

Hey! Look at that! Finally a post!

I've actually been pretty busy, but with a lot of stuff that is of absolutely no interest to anyone but me. And often even *I* don't give a shit about what I'm up to.

Anyway, last night Argotnaut and I went to see Bad Brains. That's right! And it was even an all ages show -- what is this, 1989? I won't go into a lot of detail about why I was motivated to see a live rock n' roll show by a major act for the first time since Bush the First was president because, again, who cares? but Bad Brains was one of my favorite bands in the ancient and bygone days when I actually listened to new music. And the BB's guitarist, Dr. Know, was a big influence on my guitar sound. Since it was one of the bands that Argotnaut also enjoyed, we got us some tickets and went to do what the young folks do -- actually be out and about after 11 pm rather than a) in my case collapsing in bed with a pile of dogs and cats, or b) in A's case doing homework and puttering around on-line until her natural sleeping time (say around 1 am) rolls around.

Here's a nice, blurry, cellphone photo for ya:

It was good to see the guys back in action, and comforting to know that a bunch of 50-year-old guys can still bring it when the spirit (in this case, Jah) moves them.

I've also been spending a lot of time editing together videos of Argotnaut's performances in Heidelberg with her theater group in 2005. It was a good exercise in using Final Cut HD and figuring out which video export options provide the best combination of small file size and acceptable quality. Again, you probably won't be excited by this unless you speak German, but all the videos are now posted on my YouTube page in case you're curious. A appears in "Polizeiwache," "Das Mauseproblem," and "Alte Freunde."

Other than that, I've been cycling and enjoying some long walks with the boys before I start classes in a couple of weeks. Now it's time to take Buddy and Pepe in for a clip and a bath before the year's first hot spell hits tomorrow. I'll be sure to post some before/after some point.